Maneater to chew Big Daddy
CHAMPION trainer Wayne DaCosta will know, for sure, whether the Superstakes remains his bogey race when the 39th edition of the 10-furlong event concludes tomorrow.
The 16-time champion trainer sends Triple Crown champion SHE'S A MANEATER to post with 52.5 kilos, the lightest horse in the race, getting 10lb from each of her seven rivals, three of whom are her stablemates - DYSFUNCTIONAL, HOVER CRAFT and ROYAL VIBES.
However, even with the weight to her advantage, SHE'S A MANEATER eerily has DaCosta's Superstakes luck against her, making Anthony Nunes' defending champion, BIGDADDYKOOL, a looming jinx with a helluva chance.
BIGDADDYKOOL wasted no time in establishing himself as the country's top distance horse last year, posting a runaway win in the St Leger, following his disqualification from second place in the Jamaica Derby, along with first-past-the-post FUTURE KING.
A no-nonsense two-turn specialist, BIGDADDYKOOL closed his season by being awarded the Superstakes in the stewards' room on FRANFIELD's disqualification, followed by second place in the Diamond Mile behind SEEKING MY DREAM, before ending with a New Year's Eve stroll in the 12-furlong Harry Jackson Memorial.
However, 2017 hasn't been as kind to the far-striding gelding, now a four-year-old, with not many two-turn grade one races to plunder, which could make him fodder for SHE'S A MANEATER, a juicy three-year-old filly, who doesn't know how to lose.
SHE'S A MANEATER's lone loss in 11 starts has become a blip on her radar, almost forgotten, as she chewed her way through a Triple Crown, now landing in grade one to face BIGDADDYKOOL in his backyard.
The flying filly almost stopped clockers' hearts in her last speed work, posting 1:24.3, galloping out of the nine-furlong chute on Sunday.
Ironically, her big rival, BIGDADDYKOOL, had himself set off for an exercise spin that morning, but had started his work from the clubhouse turn.
The clockers swore SHE'S A MANEATER must have recognised BIGDADDYKOOL, who was about a furlong ahead of her because, the way how she ate up the ground, the filly was snapping at his heels, coming off the home turn, before jockey Dick Cardenas shook up BIGDADDYKOOL, who went on to post a mile in 1:43.3, the last seven in 1:29.0.
DaCosta has settled on allowing Dane Nelson to ride a pound overweight, usually not his style. However, post-position one is a great draw for SHE'S A MANEATER in a race with only one contending speed, WILL IN CHARGE, the horse who twice floored BIGDADDYKOOL with featherweights, at 10 furlongs, in his last two races.
However, with 16lb going the other way, the weight swing is with BIGDADDYKOOL, nullifying WILL IN CHARGE as a spoiler to SHE'S A MANEATER, who is 10lb lighter than her only threat on the lead.
However, the champion trainer has been here already - Triple Crown winner WAR ZONE's shocking loss in 1996 and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR's unfortunate defeat after suffering interference in 2015, resulting in a third-place finish and appeal against the winner, FRANFIELD, which did not favour with the Jamaica Racing Commission.
DaCosta now only has to look to the skies and hope his Superstakes luck turns, even with everything to SHE'S A MANEATER's advantage.